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[Page 188]

Real Horseradish

by Chaim Yankelevitch

Translated from the Yiddish by Harvey Spitzer

A young Lubtch son-in-law, getting food and board at his in-laws' house, sits at the Sabbath table and, with a hearty appetite, eats the various foods which his mother-in-law brings to the table.

When she served the gefilte fish, the son-in-law stood up, put his arms around his mother-in-law and placed a kiss on her face. He did the same thing when she served the plate of meat.

The father-in-law can no longer keep from wondering, and asks:

— What is all this sudden kissing your mother-in-law about?

The young son-in-law answers:

— I like to use horseradish with fish and meat, and just today there is none on the table.


[Pages 189-194]

Lubtch on the Neiman

by Dov Kabak

Translated from the Hebrew by Ann Belinsky

lyu189.jpg
Dov Kabak

 

In the land of White Russia, by the banks of the Neiman, lies the town of Lubtch, surrounded by tens of Byelorussian villages. It is a small town, located 21 kilometers from the regional city of Novogrudek and 30 kilometers from the town of Mir (whose yeshiva, “Yeshivat Mir”, was famed as a center for Torah learning, where many desired to learn). Lubtch also had a close and good relationship with the neighboring town of Delatitch.

Lubtch was a small town, mostly populated by Jews who led a traditional life within a Christian environment. These were innocent Jews, good hearted and pious: lovers of the Torah and of learning, even the poorest of whom learnt in the “cheder” (religious elementary school) and absorbed the Torah, reverence and traditional Jewish values.

When I think back on the life in the town today, in an era when we are surrounded by the benefits of modernization and technological improvements, it seems as if fifty to sixty years ago time stood still in Lubtch. The tradition and customs were strictly kept and it was clear that they should be kept that way in the future. Life passed slowly and lazily, without much tumult and far-reaching changes: the same leaders, the same values, even the same occupations.

The inhabitants made a living mainly from commerce, mostly as small merchants who toiled to make a living. There were no rich people in the town. Most of the population was poor and made do with little, accepting God's judgment while praising and thanking the Creator.

The Jewish communities in the Polish Diaspora were surprisingly similar to each other. Nevertheless, each township had it own special character due to the influence of the ethnic-geographical environs, and the distance from the Jewish cultural-spiritual centers, etc.

Lubtch was influenced by two factors which were also the main sources of income for the populace:

A. The River Neiman; B. The rural-agricultural environment:

 

A. The Neiman

The Neiman flowed by the town, the sound of its waves singing a song of distant places. It served as the artery of transport and transportation for thousands of rafts loaded with logs from the forests that surrounded Lubtch. The Jews living there were the main suppliers of food and clothing to the rafters and those working at sawing.

lyu190.jpg
[Chaim Yankelovitch standing on] a timber raft on the Neiman.
In the distance - the castle

 

A visit by the wood dealers was the source of livelihood for several hotels. These visits brought with them a fragrance of far away places, a new a modern ambiance that pulled the town out of its frozenness and drowsiness.

Agricultural produce was transported on the Neiman from the surrounds: the small “batten” boats made their way to Germany, carried by the currents, loaded with cereal grains, oil-producing seeds, and flax. On their return from Germany, they would carry kerosene, various fats and good quality flour.

The Neiman also left its mark on the social life in the town. It was a place for holiday making and celebration, concealing and unending wealth of surprises and entertainment: in the summer is was a pool of cooling and refreshing water, while in the winter it served as a frozen area for ice skating. The local young residents saw it as a place for social meetings, and the older people would also go there happily when they had some free time.

 

B. The Agricultural Surroundings

The town dwelled within a farming countryside, and twice a week the farmers of the area would come to the town with their produce.

Every Sunday, the farmers would come to the Russian Orthodox church that dominated the highest point in the town. The farmers would combine goodness with efficiency and, when arriving for the prayer service, would bring their meat and dairy and vegetable produce to trade among themselves.

Besides the Sunday market, there was also a weekly Tuesday market: the farmers would fill up the open area with the sound of the commotion of people and the bleating, mooing and neighing of farm animals, with sellers and buyers busily handling and checking the merchandise. Our “Israelite Brethren” were also part of the tumult, buying produce from the farmers for their own needs and commerce, and providing the traders with necessities.

Most of the inhabitants were merchants, shop-owners and peddlers. Because of the rural surroundings, there were many grain and flax merchants as well as cattle and horse dealers.

Dozens of the town breadwinners would go out to the surrounding villages and buy all they could from the farmers, and would sometimes be away from home from Sunday until Shabbat.

Many houses next to the marketplace served as “sheink”, small taverns where the farmers would pass the time on market days drinking vodka, while eating salted fish with sugared tea.

The place of the “holy vessels” [religious ministrants] was not missing from the various ways of earning a “livelihood”. In our town there were two rabbis who detested each other. What one called “treyf” [unfit for eating], the other called “kosher”, and they would overturn worlds in order to discredit, slander and put the other to shame.


During the First World War, several days before the Germans arrived at the town, the inhabitants abandoned their homes out of fear of fires (since most of the roofs were made of straw, the fear of fires was enormous.) and concentrated in the meadow behind the synagogue. Some of the farmers from the area fled with the retreating army, but the Jews remained there, since they thought that the Germans would not get to such an out-of-the-way place.

In the meanwhile, the Cossacks went on a rampage. They caught women and girls in order to behave wildly with them and they came with demands for money, threatening to burn down the town if their requests were not answered. The Jews joined together and whenever they saw the Cossacks, they would begin shouting together “Gevalt!” [“How awful&!#148;], something which chased the Cossacks away.

The hopes of the Jews were dashed, however, as the Germans arrived there exactly on Shabbat. The town was completely burned down and the inhabitants exiled. The River Neiman became the frontline of the fighting between the German and Russian armies until the end of the war in 1918.

In 1930, Lubtch was conquered by the Polish army. The residents began to return to it, to rebuild and restore it.

A new spirit throbbed in the town: general knowledge and especially the spirit of Hebrew education began to pulsate in the hearts of the youth who returned from the large centers of culture and made sure that this spirit was nourished. Public institutions were built to educate and serve the idea of the national redemption. The following were established: a public primary school, a large public library and kindergartens. The dispute between Yiddish and Hebrew culture was abandoned, and in its place it was decided that the general studies would be taught in Yiddish. For this purpose, I made contact with the “Tzisha” society in Warsaw, and they sent a headmaster for our school.

In 1921, Yisrael Rubin (Dr. Rivka'i) from “Tzisha”, visited Lubtch. The school in our town made a deep impression on him, and in the summer of his visit he wrote that it was wonderful that he found progress in the school, although the life in the town was administrated as it had been done tens of years ago.

lyu193.jpg
The Public Library Committee in 1930
From right to left: Avraham Bruk, Yaakov Shmulevitch, Nachum Shlimovitch, Dov Kabak, Chaya Nignivitsky, Yunis Itzkovitch, Chaim Persky

 

The school was affiliated over time with the chain of “Tarbut” [“Culture”] schools in Poland. Under the guidance of Shmuel Shapiro (his sister Lyuba is living in Israel), a dramatic society was set up; from its proceeds the public library was built with Hebrew and Yiddish books.

The founding of the public bank aided in the development of the town. Its primary aim was to help the needy. As a member of the management of the bank, I can bear witness that many of the residents were in need and were helped by the bank.

Zionist movements including “HeChalutz“ [“The Pioneer”], “Poalei Tzion” [“Workers of Zion”], (Zionist Socialists), “HaShomer Hatza'ir” [“The Young Guard”] and “Beitar” [Brit Trumpeldor] brought a new momentum to the town. Because the youth were already infected with the bug of Zionism (many thanks to the blessed work of Chaim Bruk, an ardent Zionist who influenced many youth), the movements began to organize farming training activities. Most were sent for training on Kibbutz “Shachariya” in Baronovitch. Seventy-five youths, girls and boys, made “aliya” [immigrated] to Eretz-Yisrael [Palestine] and thus were saved from the claws of the Nazi monster.

The Jews of Lubtch are no longer, but their images hover over our eyes, and their memory is carried in our hearts. Their voices cry out from the depths of oblivion: Remember what the Nazi Amalek did to you!! Remember because we were murdered and not given the opportunity to drink completely from the Cup of Life!!


[Pages 194-199]

Lubtch Foods

by K. Hilel

Translated from the Yiddish by Harvey Spitzer

Jews from Lubtch, like most of the population of that region, liked to eat fatty foods. There was simply a cult for fat: fatty meat, fatty chickens, fatty geese and ducks, goose fat, beef fat, fried chicken fat, fatty stuffed derma, fatty membranes, fatty puddings, fatty soup, a fowl's throat stuffed with fat, a fatty piece of breast meat, calves' feet jelly, and even a fatty bone.

Food, cooked, fried or baked with various kinds of fat, were the most delicious: cutlets, latkes , blintzes, pancakes, potatoes, mushrooms in butter, puddings, “blinis”, Passover matzah balls with goose fat, Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) “babke” cake dripping with butter, butter rolls, etc. Today, who still talks about a good piece of sausage, a fatty herring, and certainly a fatty fish right out of the Nieman River?

And since we're still on the subject of fish, we should, in fact, mention the different kinds of fish which the Jews of Lubtch served on their tables: First of all, there was pike - the king of all kosher Jewish fish. After pike come carp, various species of local fish - and the cheapest fish of all, called the “poor man's fish”, smelling like swampy ponds. Besides these, people would sometimes allow themselves a luxury and buy a smoked herring and, in fact, a herring with the addition of herring sauce in which to dunk hot, boiled potatoes.

Yes, potatoes. What delicacies mothers in Lubtch used to make from them! Potatoes in their skins, peeled potatoes, fish potatoes (without fish), potatoes with beans, dairy potatoes, potato soup with fish, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potatoes cooked in Sabbath meat stew (“cholent”), potato pancakes (“latkes”), potato pudding with egg yolks (“kugel”), roasted potatoes, fried potatoes, pancakes made from potato gruel, potato dumplings (“kneidelach”), dainty potato stew with plums, dainty carrot stew with potatoes or potato dumplings (“tsimmes”) and, in fact, the entire set of potato items made with flour just as the song goes:

“Sunday potatoes, Monday potatoes
Tuesday and Wednesday, again potatoes”…

Flour was also widely used in Jewish cuisine: rye flour for baking delicious rye bread was also good for real, honey- sweetened gingerbread (“lekech”), wheat flour for baked goods, noodles (“lokshen”), dough crumbs (“farfel”), small triangular cakes of batter filled with chopped meat or cheese (“kreplach”), and soup almonds which mothers used to make by themselves. Coarse meal, with a bitter taste, to bake dark brown “poor man's” challah and cake; buckwheat meal for making for matzah balls, pancakes (“latkes”) and for baking a “gutman” on a tin sheet and finally a certain kind of meal which had to be toasted a little over a fire before use, to make Sabbath gruel (“kasha”) and delicious matzah balls and pudding (“kugel”) — “royal treats”.

With regard to puddings, there were also different kinds of different ranks: a noodle pudding made with fat and a noodle pudding with cheese for the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) occupy first place. Next comes a pudding made with flour and filled with fruit. This is followed by a “poured out” pudding made with flour, eggs and fat, a potato pudding, and a pudding in the shape of a stuffed neck of a fowl.

Loaves of White Bread (Challa) and Baked Goods:

Braided loaves of white bread made in the shape of ladders or in the shape of a hand with fingers, “strudel” filled with fruit; fancy egg cakes for which one had to beat the egg whites a long time until they became stiff, honey sweetened gingerbread, babka, little almond breads, cheese cakes, hard and crunchy egg cakes (“kichelach”), small rolls made with butter, and small rolls filled with cinnamon, “Hamantaschen” (three cornered rolls of bread stuffed with ground poppy seeds and cinnamon), little balls of honey dough (“teiglach”) loaves of white bread (“challah”) made with oil and baked items made with coarse meal. This is just a part of the variety of goods baked in Jewish homes in Lubtch. To this we must add the dry cakes, and the shiny, toasted bagel and certainly the egg bagel. Oh! Oh! What a taste they had!

 

Holiday Foods

Sabbath: gefilte fish, radishes with chicken fat, chopped liver with onions, onion stew, “tsimmes” (dainty stew of vegetables) “cholent” and potato or noodle pudding (“kugel”).

Passover: matzah balls, fermented beets, matzah “farfel” pudding, “cremzlach” (little cakes baked dry in a pan), matzah meal “pampushkes” (pancakes), mashed potato and egg pudding, fancy cake made with potato starch and eggs, dainty stew of prunes.

Shavuot -Feast of Weeks: cheese blintzes, babka, cheese cake, butter rolls all served with a good glass of chicory with milk.

New Year: challa in the shape of a ladder or hand, honey coated dough balls (“teiglach”) - a symbol for a sweet year.

Eve of Day of Atonement: when one performs an expiatory ritual with a sacrificial fowl, called “beating kaparot”, Hoshana Raba (sixth day of Festival of Tabernacles), when one beats willows on the ground, and Purim (Feast of Lots), when one beats Haman, and it was the custom to eat “Hamantaschen”, small triangular cakes containing chopped meat or cheese. And scoffers would add that these cakes could be eaten as well whenever one beats his wife!

Purim (Feast of Lots): “Hamantaschen”, honey coated dough balls(“teiglach”) and certainly the real Purim banquet.

Chanukah: potato pancakes or pancakes made with wheat or buckwheat meal or, in fact, both mixed together and fried in sizzling goose or chicken fat.

When we baked bread, we also cooked a “kaslucha”, a mixture of sour leavened bread and sugar- a finger-licking delicacy…

And a buckwheat porridge of meal whitened with milk, a fatty onion stew cooked in sweet and sour sauce; chopped eggs and onions, chopped herring in wine vinegar. These are all foods we ate and enjoyed in Lubtch. We can't forget their taste, for which today I would gladly give up the best, medium rare “steak”.

And a dish of “shtchav” (sorrel), whitened with yolks and sour cream with chopped up scallions, fresh cucumber and sweet beets. And the earthenware jars, set aside, of butter milk and sour cream, the sour liquid which remains in the barrel after butter is churned, and just a glass of self fermented juice of pickled cucumbers having the good taste of dill, caraway and garlic - and even more so when whitened with sour cream. It is really so refreshing!

Indeed, and preserves of raspberries, (“may there be no need for them!”) cherries, gooseberries, pears and even of radishes - yes, of radishes-, cowberries and whortleberries. And besides these, we must add the big bottles with blackberries, cherries and raspberries, which also served as a medicinal cure.

Blackberries, raw or cooked, garnished with sugar and starch, red berries served with sugar and sour cream, small radishes with cucumbers, salad greens and scallions from one's own garden mixed with buttermilk, with slices of black, rye bread spread with butter. Just remembering this makes one's mouth water.

All of these were the foods that our mothers and grandmothers prepared, giving up a lot of their time, energy and health. Foods the Jews of Lubtch enjoyed and which also produced physically healthy generations.

And as we're already mentioning the various foods, let's also mention the cooking utensils, instruments and vessels which our mothers and grandmothers used for their work. In doing so, it should be noted that some of the names originate in White Russian and have been Yiddishized:

“boike” – a small barrel for churning butter
“deinitze” – a milk pail
“deizshe” – a small barrel for kneading dough
“dreifuss” – an iron tripod (stand) for cooking
“volgerholtz” – a wooden instrument for turning wash in a wash basin
“voyik” – a kind of lever or anchor for drawing buckets out of a well
“vilke” – a half- rounded fork for putting pots in the oven
“vechetch” – a rag for scouring and cleaning pots
“zaslinke” – a piece of tin for closing or covering the baking oven, an oven-lid.
“zipele” – a thick sieve for flour or meal
“tarke” – a grater
“tshohon” – a small pot made of “tshohon” (cast iron)
“yoshke” – a chimney cover, a damper
“ladishke” – an earthenware jug or pitcher
“lopete” – a small board with a stick, like an oar, for placing food in oven for baking
“lokshenbret” – a board for rolling dough
“liak” – a small pot with a narrow opening for boiling water
“multer” – a wooden instrument for kneading dough
“stupe” – a wooden pestle for grinding matzah.
“skorvede” – a frying pan
“pomoinitze” – a bucket for dirty water after use
“pomele” – a broom for cleaning the oven, an oven mop
“fendel” – a small pan used mainly for cooking fish
“pripetchik” forepart of an oven, a place for cooking by an oven
“tzuber” – the lower pestle made of wood, a tub
“kotchere” – a piece of bent iron with which to scrape pots from oven
“katuch” – a place under a baking over for keeping chickens
“katshelke” – a round stick for rolling dough, a rolling pin
“kvart” – a tin cup serving as a measure (quart) for milk
“kendel” (“kubak”) – a cup with a handle for taking water out of a bucket
“kargeshir” – a small pot, corrupted from the German “Kochgeshir”, cooking utensils
“reshete” – a sieve with bigger openings, from Hebrew (“reshet”, screen, net)
“shtoisel” – a small, brass barrel (mortar) with a pestle for crushing poppy seed, pepper, etc.
“shtchirke” – a dishtowel


[Page 199]

“Lubtch Pigs”

by H.K.

Translated from the Yiddish by Harvey Spitzer

Just as most of the Jews in the town, the Lubtch gentiles also had a nickname - “Lubtch pigs”.

This came about from the fact that a few individual gentiles lived in the Jewish sections and their pigs used to creep about all day long in the Jewish streets. They especially liked the small, Jewish yards and it was a real delight for them to get into Jewish gardens and destroy everything.

In retrospect, the pigs were actually the predecessors of their owners- the gentiles.


[Pages 200-201]

Days of Activity and Hope

by Chaim Sonenzon

Translated from the Hebrew by Ann Belinsky

lyu200.jpg
Chaim Sonenzon

 

Lubtch maintained a traditional way of life, based on the heritage of its fathers, and a way of life which had taken root over generations.

The market was the center of the town: from there, the 4 main streets branched out; “Novogrudek”, “Itzukovitz”, “Hatira” and “Delatitch”. Also branching off from the centre of the market was the Bath-house Lane, where the “Tarbut” School stood, and the three synagogues, two of which were built of stone, and one of wood.

There were no factories in Lubtch (except for a carpentry shop and a flour mill). Most of the residents made a living from commerce, peddling and crafts.

The commerce was seasonal, and was carried out mainly during the winter. Trade was in flax, grains, pig bristles and animal furs. Since we were far away from the large cities, many of the new fashions and innovations were not found here. The closest center, to which we were connected to for all governmental ministries and administration, was Novogrudek. But the youth found a means to change their way of life: Youth Movements were set up in the locality, although later than in the large centers, but with their creation, many were swept up with enthusiasm into their ranks.

In 1928 a group of young men, including Mordechai Kivilevitch, Hillel Shmuelevitch, Chaim Yankelevitch, Avraham Leibovitch, Yaacov Zaharvitch, and myself - founded the “HaShomer Hatza'ir” group. We joined up with the leadership of the Movement in Baronovitch, and with the close branch in Novogrudek, in order to request help, since we did not have a model of the way the branch should be managed. Help arrived - we were sent emissaries, especially for Shabbat. We eagerly drank their words and during their visits we solved problems and questions which bothered us; we were impatient and wanted to know everything as quickly as possible.

The local youth began organizing into groups and regiments. We had many discussions about current events, ideals and the history and heritage of our People. We went into the fields, to summer camps, on night hikes, we celebrated the Festivals together and together we wove our dreams.

On Lag B'Omer we went to an estate by Delatitch; we celebrated with song and dance, beside the flickering tongues of the flames of the bonfires. We managed to bring an atmosphere of festivity to the whole town.

We went to summer camps in Kromen, for 8 days. It was not easy to persuade the parents to permit their children to go to the camp for such a long time. We visited each house, begging and making promises. Also it was difficult to collect food for the camp. We finally succeeded, the camp took place and aided in bonding the members of the movement.

The Youth Group began started to acquire the character of a cultural center in the town. We arranged cultural evenings, lectures and trials. The youth found a challenge, there was something to fight for, and something to strive towards. It was a place where it was possible to give expression to ideals and ideas.

We set up a drama group, we organized parties where we acted, performed gymnastics, sang, and even traveled to Karelichi [Korelitz] and put on our program there.

Our main problem was where to conduct our activities, especially during the winter. In the summer we would meet mainly in the fields.

We were also active within the school - at first the teachers were opposed, claiming that we were damaging the pupils' handiwork. But since we had strong aspirations, they gave into us finally and the doors of the institution were opened to our activities.

The way of life changed - especially for the youth, many of whom went to training camps (hachsharah) and immigrated to Eretz-Israel. Thanks to the youth movements, they were saved from annihilation.

Lubtch was physically annihilated, destroyed and reduced to ruins by the Nazi soldiers, but the atmosphere that prevailed -and the memories of its inhabitants, will not be forgotten.


[Pages 202-205]

The Connection of the Family
of President of Israel,Yitzchak Ben Tzvi, to Lubtch

Collated by: A. Aleph

Translated from the Hebrew by Harvey Spitzer

The book, “Pedigree Scrolls” (Jerusalem, 1957), written by Mr. Zvi Shimshi (Shimshelivitch), father of the late President Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, of blessed memory, tells of the relationship of the President's family to the “tzadik” (righteous man), Rabbi Moshe Ivyer.

In his preface to the above- mentioned “Pedigree Scrolls”, Prof. Nahum Sloshetz (who is also related to the offspring of Rabbi Moishele Ivyer) writes inter alia: “A living tradition such as this was frequently mentioned by the descendants of Rabbi Moshe Ashkenazi Halperin, who was known as Rabbi Moshe Ivyer and, when claiming descent from this hidden “tzadik”, always reminded one that he (Rabbi Ivyer) could trace his origin to Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchak (Rashi), one of the most important sages of France during the Middle Ages.”

Everyone knows amongst other things that between Rashi and this Rabbi Moshe, there was a gap of 20 generations of dispersion and wanderings, but also during the travels of Rashi's offspring from one nation to another, they never stopped studying the Torah. The chain of Torah study was never halted. Rashi transmitted his Torah to his grandchildren, his daughters' children, and they to the “Tosafists” [annotators to the Talmud]. After the Diaspora in France, we find their descendants in the communities of Germany and Italy. More spread to the East, so that Poland and Lithuania eventually became the meeting place of Torah and the heritage of our Forefathers. Amongst these great names who taught the Torah of Rashi in that land we find the first rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Moshe Ashkenazi, also known as Haylprin, taken from the name of the city of Heilbrun in Germany. Rabbi Moshe Ivyer was a descendant of that first Rabbi Ashkenazi. And my own grandfather, Rabbi Avraham-Moshe (died in Jerusalem on 24 Adar I 5714 (1954), was named after him. After his death, my younger brother Moshe was given his name, but Moshe's nickname was Carmon. (He died in Jerusalem on 24 Adar I, 5714 (1954).

According to the Hebrew Encyclopedia (Vol.9, pp. 173-177), the President's father was a sixth generation descendant of Rabbi Ashkenazi from the small town of Ivye, a pupil and associate of the Gra, the Gaon from Vilna.

lyu203.jpg
Yitzchak Ben-Zvi of blessed memory.
The second President of Israel

 

The following are the biographical details of the family of the late president, Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, of blessed memory:

The grandfather of the late President Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, Rabbi Reuven-Yisrael Shimshi (Shimshelevitch), of blessed memory, was born in the year 5604 (1844) in the town of Lubtch (near Novogrodek), the region of Minsk. He married the daughter of Avraham Moshe from Smorgon- Esther. They had four sons and two daughters.

Their oldest son was R' Tzvi Shimshi (Shimshelevitch), who was born in the year 5623 (1863) in Smorgon. Then his parents moved to the town of Varnova, close to Lida. He received a traditional education at a “cheder”. He then traveled to Minsk and from there to Poltava. In the year 5644 (1844) he married Atara (Kraina), the daughter of R' Yisrael Kopilovitz. Three sons and two daughters were born in Poltava.

Their oldest son Yitzchak is Yitzchak Ben-Tzvi, second President of the State of Israel. He was born on 18 Kislev 5645 (1884) in the city of Poltava (Ukraine). There he learnt at the “cheder” and the gymnasia and afterwards at the University of Kiev. He visited Israel in 5664 (1904) and made “aliyah” to Eretz-Yisrael and settled there in 5667 (1907). From his earliest youth, he was one of the founders and activists of Zionism, devoted in heart and soul, dreaming and fighting for the Zionist idea first in Russia and afterwards in Eretz-Yisrael.

He was a great scholar, author and historian. He wrote very valuable books on the history of the Jewish settlement in Eretz-Yisrael and its antiquities, about the history of the communities of Israel and their leaders. He especially investigated the life of remote, forgotten Jewish sects and those that had distanced themselves from the general nation, such as the Karaites and Samaritans. He was beloved by all sectors in Eretz-Yisrael.

In the year 5679 (1919), he married Rachel Yanait, daughter of R'Yona Lishanski, one of the descendants of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak from Berdichev and one of the descendants of the Admor R' Nachum of Chernobyl, student of the Ba'al Shem Tov (on his mother's side). They had two sons, Amram and Eli. The older son, Amram, was born on 1 Heshvan 5683 (1922), and the second son, Eli, was born on 5 Adar I 5684 (1924).

Eli fell in battle during the War of Independence, while defending “Beit Keshet”, on 5 Adar I, 5708 (1948). May the Lord avenge his blood!

At the first Assembly of Representatives in the year 5689 (1929), Yitzchak Ben-Zvi was elected Chairman of the National Committee, and afterwards as President of the National Committee, which he presided over until the establishment of the State. When the State was established, he was a member of the Knesset (Parliament) and one of the most active representatives on the Legislation and Justice Committee and on a number of other committees.

On 20 Kislev 5713 (8.12.52), he was chosen by the Knesset to be the second President of the State of Israel. In 1958 he was voted for a second term of office and in 1962 for a third round. Yet, he was neither haughty nor proud, carrying out his service to the people and to the state with modesty and humility. Despite his elevated role and his many state and public functions, he made time for Torah and scientific study, and devoted himself to studying the Bible and a daily page of the Talmud. We can say about the ways of the late President “The spirit of mankind and of God rested upon him”.

President Yitzchak Ben-Zvi died on 29 Nissan 5723 (23.4.1963) at the age of 79 and was brought to eternal rest on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.

May his memory never depart from the hearts and minds of the Jewish People!


[Page 205]

An Incident About an Informing Report

by Shalom Leibovitch

Translated from the Yiddish by Harvey Spitzer

A judgment based on strict Jewish law took place between Layzer Notkes and Yaakov-Berl. Since Yaakov-Berl lost the case when the judge decided in Layzer's favor, Yaakov-Berl became terribly angry and announced that he was going to report it to the authorities.

Hearing such words, the rabbi said in good humor: “You don't know yet how this informing report can end up for you.”

As he was leaving the rabbi's house, Yaakov-Berl fell and broke a leg. Of course, he was no longer able to go and report the matter to the government, and the rabbi's decision was carried out.

 

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